Thin film smear stain experiment

These pictures are from a thin-film smear of venous blood with EDTA (lavender top) stained with 'Diff-Quik'. Gentle centrifuging produced the expected buffy-coat but my attempt to pipette this onto slides failed and I ended up with mostly RBCs from the top layer. Centrifuging was 2 hours after the blood-draw and slide preparation and staining an hour after that.

The scale bars are reasonably accurate and derived from a Meiji Techno 10 Micron division calibration slide. The pictures below are 66% size of the original which was 29.4 pixels per micron. Given the limits of optical resolution, a degree of flare from the agents and long camera exposures I estimate the average thickness of some of the long agents to be somewhere between .25 and .35uM. The 'blobs' on the end of the long agents are typically around .35uM.

The only processing of the picture is of levels (Adobe Photoshop) and a few pictures with noise removal to improve visibility and make for comfortable viewing. The brightness of the agents should not be used as any kind of guide. Please contact me for original images. Although it is not obvious in the micrographs, the long agents appear to have stained weakly with the methylene blue. Without staining many are barely detectable even with darkfield, though similar agents are easily resolved in a wet-drop of blood. This suggests that their refractivity is closer to that of dried serum and unsuitably stained smears are not a good method for seeing them.

Some fairly obvious fungal growths are included for comparisson and fair assessment. The thinnest (and faintest) subjects appear very flexible, yet even these often have features that hint at some kind of potential segmentation. The thicker agents show 'string of pearl' characteristics and may be developing 'propagules' (Brorson, O.)



Last update July 12th 2012

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